Not loving your rear view? It might be time to rethink your routine. Diet, of course, is important, but performing the same exercises over and over can also limit your progress.

Whether you want to give your butt a boost or just maintain a tight, toned tush, we asked one of the top booty-bearers in the business, IFBB bikini pro Nathalia Melo, to show us some of her top exercises for firmer, more sculpted glutes.

Her moves are unconventional, so follow her tips carefully to ensure best results.

Exercise 1: Leg-Curl Butt-Blaster

Works: Glutes, Hamstrings

Nathalia Says: "This is a very effective movement that strongly hits the glutes. If you need to build up strength, start with glute extensions on the floor. Remember to keep your core stable, and don't let your back sag as you lift your leg."

  • Get down on all fours in front of and facing away from a leg-curl machine.
  • Place the heel of your right foot on the pad and push up, keeping your knee slightly bent. 
  • Slowly return to the starting position, but don't allow the weight to touch the stack.
  • Keep your back flat and your neck in line with your spine.
  • Repeat for reps, then switch sides.

Tip: Keep your core stable and avoid allowing your back to sag as you lift your leg.

Exercise 2: Bench Squat To Deadlift

Works: Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings

Nathalia Says: "With this compound exercise, you'll hit three muscle groups. The farther you push your hips back and go past parallel, the more you'll emphasize your glutes. Practice this move with no weight until you've gotten the form down, then move to light weights and work your way up from there."

  • Move two flat benches parallel to each other, then stand erect with one foot on either bench, toes pointed slightly outward.
  • Hold one side of a dumbbell with both hands down in front of you and arms extended.
  • Bend your knees and lower into a squat position.
  • Keeping your abs tight and low back slightly arched, lower your chest parallel to the floor as you push through your heels and straighten your legs.
  • Return to the start position, and repeat combination for reps.

Tip: Keep the natural curve in your back throughout the deadlift portion of the movement - don't round it.

Exercise 3: Bosu Ball Sumo Squat

Works: Glutes, Inner and Outer Quads, Hamstrings

Nathalia Says: "Even though you'll hit those muscles, good technique is crucial to master this wide-stance exercise. To maximize glute recruitment, keep your weight shifted on the leg that is planted on the floor. If this is too challenging, you can brace the Bosu ball against a wall so it won't slide around while you're performing the exercise."

  • Stand tall directly beside the center of the Bosu ball with your left foot on the floor and your right foot placed on the center of the ball, arms in front of you, palms clasped.
  • Adjust your stance so your feet are wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward.
  • Keeping your heels pressed on the floor and the Bosu ball, squat down by pushing your hips back and bending your knees.
  • Keep your lower back flat as you descend until your thighs are parallel to the floor, pause, then slowly reverse the motion back up. 
  • Complete all reps with your right leg and repeat with your left.

Exercise 4: Bench Step Up

Works: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads

Nathalia Says: "Even though this exercise is simple, you'll get serious results. The high-stepping action will strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. The trick is to 'pull' yourself up using only your heels to push through the bench, and squeeze your glutes hard at the top of the movement."

  • Stand to the side of a bench, arms straight in front of you with your palms facing downward; keep your shoulders relaxed, back and down.
  • Place your right foot firmly on top of the bench and use it to lift your body weight.
  • Squeeze your glutes and hams at the top, and hold your left leg slightly up and out in front of you.
  • Slowly lower your weight back to the floor, touching down softly and quietly.
  • Pause briefly and move into the next rep.
  • Complete reps with the right leg, then repeat with left.

Exercise 5: Dumbbell Pull-Through

Works: Spinal Erectors, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lower Back

Nathalia Says: "This exercise works your muscles much like the deadlift. The biggest mistake I see people make with this move is swinging the weight. Keep this movement slow and controlled by concentrating on squeezing your glutes and abs throughout."

  • Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward.
  • Hold a dumbbell with both hands out in front of you, arms in front of thighs.
  • With your back flat, bend your knees slightly while leaning forward to push the dumbbell back between your legs.
  • Press through your heels to return to standing, squeezing your glutes as you raise the weight.
  • Repeat for reps.

Tip: Push through your heels and shift your hips forward to lift the weight.

Nathalia's Workout Split

  • Day 1: Quads
  • Day 2: Shoulders/Chest/Triceps
  • Day 3: Hamstrings
  • Day 4: Back/Biceps
  • Day 5: Glutes
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Off
Glute Workout
Glute Kickback
Using seated leg curl machine.
4 sets, 15 reps (Place the heel of your right foot on the pad and push up, keeping your knee slightly bent. Slowly return to the starting position, but don't allow the weight to touch the stack.)
+ 5 more exercises


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Note on cardio: Nathalia does cardio 5-to-6 times per week for 45-to-60 minutes during her off-season. When she is getting ready for a competition, she does cardio twice per day for 45-to-60 minutes each session.

About the Author

Muscle & Fitness

Muscle & Fitness

Muscle & Fitness magazine was founded by Joe Weider in 1935, and its content focuses on fitness and bodybuilding.

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